New to bonsai, styling advice needed

Vance Wood

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Something like this might be OK for Masahiko Kimura but this kind of material is very difficult coupled with being this large a beginner would be in way over his/her head.
 

innova

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Thanks again for weighing in here, I'll keep looking for something on the novice side of the scale.
 

Paulpash

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If you go for an evergreen / conifer you want multiple branches going off a substantial trunk with foliage close in to the trunk. Most deciduous species back bud pretty well and respond positively to chopping.

This article should be compulsory reading for people just starting out and using nursery material to learn the basics:

http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/bonsaibe.htm

The articles section at the top of this web page is chock full of stuff to read up on and well worth bookmarking and coming back to it time & time again.
 

Poink88

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Threadjacking my own thread here I know, but while we're all here :) . I was at the local nursery and found a giant section of split-rock cypress on sale that had seen better days, but had lots of new growth. Is something like this desirable for a novice to take on or should I stick with something smaller?

(they were marked down to $50 and about 7' tall)



and for scale

I'd buy it fast. Don't plan on working on it yet until you are ready but at least have the tree. That is just my approach.
 

innova

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Thread continues to give! Thanks again everyone. Instead of wasting people's time I decided to crawl through a few nurseries today and just get a couple smaller trees. In the bargain bin I was able to get a Yew for $15 and a boxwood for $20. I've attached some photos below for reference. I see conflicting information on when to do an initial prune on nursery stock, with most folks just getting right to it here in the summer time. I also need to get the boxwood in a pot, not sure it'll last long in that rootball (mudball).





 

armetisius

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Thread continues to give! Thanks again everyone. Instead of wasting people's time I decided to crawl through a few nurseries today and just get a couple smaller trees. In the bargain bin I was able to get a Yew for $15 and a boxwood for $20. I've attached some photos below for reference. I see conflicting information on when to do an initial prune on nursery stock, with most folks just getting right to it here in the summer time. I also need to get the boxwood in a pot, not sure it'll last long in that rootball (mudball).

Okay you got a pretty good deal on them and have something to work with.
Bonsai is by NO means a race; look at it, make the decision today of what to do in your mind, or by using a sketch, then walk away for a month or two. Come back and go through the whole process again. If you STILL feel this branch needs to leave or needs this curve or that cutting back--then do it. View as many bonsai as you have the opportunity to so that you can develop a "feel" for the different styles. With time your experience will grow and you won't even need that lag time before you KNOW when and where to cut. I would suggest plopping it into a large wide box of good soil to give that mud ball a chance to loosen up and increase the over-all vigor of the tree before you start with the root pruning process and all.
Just my take on the situation and on your experience level. Hope it helps
 

innova

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It does help, and thanks for taking the time to respond. I went crazy on these trees, the yew is probably trashed, but the boxwood has some potential but I was limited to how far I could prune back while leaving some leaves, kind of funny looking at the moment. My hopes is that it'll backbud and I can take it back in steps. I was able to pick up a royal burgundy barberry that I've hacked down as well.

I'm finding why some of this must be learned in person at a club as there are some major gaps of knowledge w/ regards to how far to cut this back etc. Keeping the nursery stock I pick to under $20/ea should help keep the lessons inexpensive for now I hope.
 

TheSteve

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I refuse to offer any more constructive responses to this thread until Adiar apologizes for his velvet Elvis flaming
 

MidMichBonsai

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Going cheap with nursery stock and things that you can dig is the best way to go at this point. By doing this you can learn various species and how to keep them alive. The first and most important part of bonsai is know how to keep a tree healthy and happy. It is a living art after all. This should always be our first goal. If that is happening, the rest is much easier. If not, the process is much longer and much more frustrating.

We have all killed trees...I have killed about the same amount as I currently own. :p But...that's how you learn. Every tree death is a learning experience and it's a lot easier to swallow when it was a $20 lesson rather than a $500 lesson. I'm still in this boat and out of respect for the trees themselves (and my own wallet ;)), I refuse to lay high quality material to rest. I will continue to learn and work my way to the point where I can do the highest quality material justice.

Learning together!
Good luck!
 

xray360

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It does help, and thanks for taking the time to respond. I went crazy on these trees, the yew is probably trashed, but the boxwood has some potential but I was limited to how far I could prune back while leaving some leaves, kind of funny looking at the moment. My hopes is that it'll backbud and I can take it back in steps. I was able to pick up a royal burgundy barberry that I've hacked down as well.

I'm finding why some of this must be learned in person at a club as there are some major gaps of knowledge w/ regards to how far to cut this back etc. Keeping the nursery stock I pick to under $20/ea should help keep the lessons inexpensive for now I hope.

The problem with this hobby is not only the time it takes to learn, but the space in your yard. You'll soon have 20+ trees/bonsai projects. The only way to get better though is to work hands on and to look at a lot of pictures. When you see more styles and trees it gives you more ideas when you have nursery stock. This forum also is helpful. Looking at progressions of other members trees really shows you the path of developing a shrub, tree, or dug up old stump into a bonsai. You'll also get an eye for seeing stock that can make a great bonsai or one that doesn't have potential.

I find the hobby most enjoyable as a past time not to get too obsessed over. It's hard in the beginning but I'm only 3 years in and I'm starting to enjoy it now rather than be obsessed in having something finished. That's all I have to say as a fellow nooby.
 

Vance Wood

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The problem with this hobby is not only the time it takes to learn, but the space in your yard. You'll soon have 20+ trees/bonsai projects. The only way to get better though is to work hands on and to look at a lot of pictures. When you see more styles and trees it gives you more ideas when you have nursery stock. This forum also is helpful. Looking at progressions of other members trees really shows you the path of developing a shrub, tree, or dug up old stump into a bonsai. You'll also get an eye for seeing stock that can make a great bonsai or one that doesn't have potential.

I find the hobby most enjoyable as a past time not to get too obsessed over. It's hard in the beginning but I'm only 3 years in and I'm starting to enjoy it now rather than be obsessed in having something finished. That's all I have to say as a fellow nooby.

The only finished bonsai is a dead bonsai. The rest are all in various stages of development from just starting out, and looking like it, to pretty far along down the road, and looking like it. Be happy in sharing the journey with your trees, keep your eyes open to design, methods, techniques and new ideas, and exercise the courage to step out of your comfort range.
 

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